School Bus Rocket
Where are you from?

  The first story, School Bus Rocket, teaches a simple geography of the earth in space for the early primary school grades, K-2. The story draws some inspiration from Joanne Cole's Magic School Bus ( series as well as the United Nations' Cyber School Bus ( web pages, but the author, Joseph Adams, conceived the story as a means to teach learners of English-as-a-second language in Japan. (In the current English version of the story, Japanese-as-a-second language replaces English.) The story-line is simple and is teachable in two parts. In the first part, we travel from the earth, through the solar system, the Milky Way, and other galaxies where we run low on gas and discover a black hole and a UFO. Students decide whether to enter the Black Hole or ask the UFO. Part two resumes depending on the students decision to enter the Black Hole or ask the UFO for an escort back to Earth. The following is a description of the three lesson unit I taught in Japanese primary school classes:

Three Lesson Unit Plan

picture #2First Lesson (part 1 -- pictures 1 through 5 of the storyboard)


student drawing after School Bus RocketSecond Lesson (part 2 -- pictures 6 through 10 of the storyboard) story continued from the previous lesson.  Return to Earth and draw a picture.


Third Lesson (review and games)  Final review and game using the foreign language words for Earth, Sun, Moon, Stars, Solar System, Milky Way, the Universe.

Summative Assesment: Quiz using the following questions: "What's your name?; Where are you from?," vocabulary words.

Student Survey
(one year after the class Fall 1997)

Lower primary grades

Nakamichi-Kita primary school, third grade (actual class second grade), 29 students

1) What did you think of the lesson?

2) What was the best part?

back to the story

back to the K-2 introduction